Team Meat: Problem With Mobile Development Is A “Lack Of Respect” For Players

Team Meat: Problem With Mobile Development Is A “Lack Of Respect” For Players

Don’t get me wrong, I love mobile development as much as the next person, but I can’t help but nod in agreement with Edmund McMillen, co-creator of Super Meat Boy, when he claims that “the core of what is wrong with the mobile platform is the lack of respect for players”.

In a development blog focusing on the progress of Super Meat Boy: The Game — a touch based, ground up reworking of Super Meat Boy for iOS and mobile platforms, McMillen went on a bit of tangent, discussing his own personal issues with mobile development.

To us the core of what is wrong with the mobile platform is the lack of respect for players, it really seems like a large number of these companies out there view their audience as dumb cattle who they round up, milk and then send them on their way feeling empty or at times violated…

There is an on going theme these days to use a very basic video game shell and hang a “power up carrot” in front of the player. the player sees this carrot, and wants it! all the player needs to do is a few very rudimentary repetitious actions to attain it, once they get to it, another drops down and asks them to do more… but then the catch… instead of achieving these “goals” by running on the tread mill, you can instead just pay a single dollar and you instantly get to your goal! better yet pay 10 and unlock all your goals without even having to ever play the game!

[W]ords can not express how fucking wrong and horrible this is, for games, for gamers and for the platform as a whole… this business tactic is a slap in the face to actual game design and embodies everything that is wrong with the mobile/casual video game scene.

This will most likely reflect my own personal preferences as a player, but all of my favourite mobile gaming experiences have involved fair, but challenging goals (like Tiny Wings). Or a high score mechanic — like Collision Effect, Ziggurat, or Doodle Jump — that allowed me to increase my skill level through practice.

Pay to succeed games? Bleh. The reward is instantly lost for me if I can simply pay to win.

Thanks VG247


  • This is just taking DLC to its logical exension I would have thought. The mobile games space is going through a lot of things the industry has gone through but in a compressed period of time and in many ways, jumping ahead into the future. Anybody ever see the Future Echoes of Red Dwarf? I think I mean that.

  • Couldn’t agree more, but there are exceptions. Jetpack Joyride for instance, you can buy coins, but you easily gain the same rewards through gameplay, so you’re in no way forced too. They are a business after all, so if people want to pay for it (it is a free game after all), let them.

    A frustrating example I would like to voice however, is PvZ on iOS. The game has been a great port, but recently, it was updated to feature more of the content from the PC version. The content is available straight away on PC, yet must be bought in the in game shop on iOS. The issue is that the content is priced ridiculously high. Coincidentally, in the same update, they also added the ability to buy more coins.

    • Rediculously high? Incorrect my Rusty chum. As I got PVZ when it was first released and played it a stupid amount, i had a HEAP left over when the ‘spend 100,000 coins on the iZombie pack’ came out and could buy them instantly. By the time the ‘vase’ levels came out i didnt have much left, but, if you play it a bit and pay attention to your Zen Garden, i found i had enough coins to buy it within about 3 days. Zen garden is the key.

  • Just out of curiosity… have Team Meat released a game where they haven’t trashed the system as soon as it’s launched?

  • There are some truly awesome mobile games out there but the majority of the “big” titles follow this pattern. The truly awesome ones clearly have respect for the gamer..

    • I think the big difference between the truly awesome games and the ‘big’ games is that the ‘big’ games tend to be a simple concept, throw a bird at some pigs, as opposed to a full 3D RPG, Infinity Blade (I’ve never played it, but I’ve heard rumours). The ‘big’ game developers see this cash cow of casual gamers who may not be the best at video games and think “they’ve already paid $1 for the game, so we have their attention, BUT what if they paid another $5 to make the game easier”. Unfortunately, it’s a system that rewards the developer for insulting the player

  • As a consumer of iOS games, that’s pretty much how I feel. I bought Dead Space on the iPad, I found it OK, not great, up until I reached the first shop. You can buy any item / weapon in the game, straight up at the first shop if you’re prepared to spend the money. What’s the point?
    I do really like Fifa 12 (iPad), but the financial aspect of the manager mode is silly, apart from being so simple as to be a waste of time, if your club goes in the red, you’re encouraged to spend real world money to prevent game over. I paid full price for that game yet it bombards me with ads, tries to take more of my money won’t stop espousing the “wonders” of Origin. EA mobile are a group of scumbags.

    I now steer clear of games published by the bigger companies, instead looking for gems like Osmos and classics like Another World.

  • Totally – while there are a number of games which have do not have the paid element, seldom are the ones that do which you can actually complete without buying power-ups.


  • I think this applies to the overall game industry, not merely mobile development.

    Even as far back as WoW (which I have never played), with every new expansion, old ‘top tier’ items were rendered obsolete, and new achievements were added to milk every additional dollar and minute of gameplay out of their players. Granted, the overarching concern of this article seems to imply his proverbial ‘beef’ lies with Pay-2-Win, which is unquestionably rampant in mobile games, but the same could be argued for many online games as well, especially online shooters.

    The problem is that if the items aren’t ridiculously overpowered, noone will buy them, but if they ARE, all non-bought items are pretty much obsolete. It is a very hard balance to strike.

  • I agree with Rusty.
    I find the main problem is that to unlock things with in game coins it can become way too hard as they are all priced way too high so that you pretty much have to buy it.
    That’s why I stopped playing Simpsons: Tapped Out.
    Everything was insanely priced.

  • Videogames and stores are too totally different things. Though proper developers already know this. To many hacks have jumped on the bandwagon – their loss in the end.

  • That sentiment is all well and good and frankly, refreshing to hear from a mobile developer, but things are only going to change when people stop supporting that model of paying to avoid effort.

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